Re: paying the artists: the spike

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sat Jul 29 2000 - 00:54:11 MDT

Damien Broderick wrote:
> At 01:34 AM 28/07/00 -0400, Eliezer wrote:
> >Coding a Transhuman AI the Plan to Singularity Algernon's Law Staring
> >into the Singularity the Singularitarian Principles Singularity Analysis
> >Frequently Asked Questions about the Meaning of Life all absolutely free
> Uh, and while you were writing them, Eli, how did you earn your living? Pay
> for your food and the roof over your head and your clothing and net access?

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the interstate tollway system used by lesser mortals NO charge NO tax NO
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As you point out, until recently, I was in sad straits. Presently, I'm
metamorphosing into a Research Fellow of the Singularity Institute for
Artificial Intelligence, an institution that would probably not exist if
I had not published the aforesaid Web pages (CaTAI in particular). So
we do have one noncopyright strategy; publish work that's important
enough and maybe someone will pay you to keep doing it.

Strictly speaking, neither your objection nor my answer has any
relevance to the main point - regardless of who "really" supported
CaTAI, it wasn't being supported by pay-per-view. Spike said that
nobody would publish good stuff without per-item royalties, and I
pointed out that at least one counterexample exists. Whether this is
the exception that demonstrates the rule is another issue. Who knows,
maybe once copyright is dead, the world's entire literature will consist
of books written by wealthy scions and retired dot-commers and
sixteen-year-old high school students. Would this world really be any
worse than the one we have now? Damien Broderick is fortunate and
*rare* in being able to make a living at skiffy (sci-fi); yet the very
existence of SF magazines depends on the constant influx of new writers
with day jobs, most of whom invest amounts of time far out of proportion
to that final check. Writing short stories doesn't pay - writing novels
does - and yet people still write short stories.

> just pointing out that your empirical evidence is not especially
> representative of the way most artists need to make a living from their work.

Yes, I believe I said as much in my original message ("you can't run an
industry that way").

--    Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

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